In his fifth book of poems, Arvin Abejo Mangohig proceeds from the contention that the act of writing a poem is a moral one. From their gentle beseeching to firsthand experience, the poems in Tokhang Nation cover the quotidian evils Filipinos have faced since 2016, everything from social media trolls to the de facto curfew besetting their collective lives.
From its small portraits of daily life to the much bigger picture of the battle between good and evil, Tokhang Nation shows Mangohig’s heels digging deeper into the moral conviction that poetry should be an act of justice and the belief that the poet is engaged in a war to lay bare a culture of complicity in death. His trademark lyricism and gift of swift narrative belie the tumult of the drug war, and are intensified by his poetry’s insistence to, as all art must in troubled times, awaken us from the allure of complacency and indifference.
Arvin Abejo Mangohig is the author of four poetry books: The Gaze: Poems (University of the Philippines Press, 2003); Bloodflow: A Lyric Sequence (De La Salle University Publishing House/Central Books, 2012); Lost Things (Vagabond Press, 2017); and Martial Law: Poems for the Dead (UST Publishing House, 2019).
University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Philippines
Softcover / 9 x 6 inches / 67 pages / BW